TECH

Incredible Rotating Moon Video Shot By Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Is Amazing

17/09/2013 10:39 BST

Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has taken time off from painting fine art and looking for Neil Armstrong's footprints to shoot this incredibly detailed footage of the Moon.

We only ever see one side of the Moon but it does in fact rotate - as captured in the amazing video.

And it was no easy feat.

moon

Before correction the perspective changes plus- and minus-30° from the centre to the edges of each frame

Obviously, to capture a fully illuminated moon would require the rather impossible task of moving the Sun.

The problem lies in the fact that the perceived reflectance of the Moon changes as the view angle changes, so the surface appears to be most reflective in the centre of the image and less so at the edges.

To get around this required 36 nearly complete global mosaics - that's an epic 110,000 images - combined in a way that overcame the changes in the Sun's angle.

moon

One of the uncorrected mosaic shots

This required some serious computing power which used "existing knowledge of lunar reflectance, many iterations, and a variety of classes of mathematical solutions".

The work was done with help from a team at Arizona State University.